Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is success?

Sitting in a café for breakfast, I began working on a research project that I have for school. It’s one of my last major assignments of this semester…..

When I walked in, I noticed a girl that I went to high school with, many years back. She was always a “wild child” and as I sat behind her in class, I listened to her many stories of escapades.. the most vivid that I remember involved a wild week during spring break. She was always involved in some sort of drama and always seemed to be in some sort of trouble.. the issues seemed to always center around boys. The pictures of her in revealing clothes and every type of alcohol you can imagine littered the photos she shared.

And here… many years later, I see her working behind the counter at the café. She was always nice to me in high school, but we were total opposites. I don’t even think she recognized me and I didn’t let on that I remembered her. As I was waiting on my order, I wondered how her life had turned out.

I sat down and began working on my paper.. After being completely indecisive, I got up and ordered a bagel after I had already ordered a muffin. Finally, I really starting getting into reading the article I was doing research on.

I heard the door open and saw a little child come in. I didn’t notice who he came in with, but he was a beautiful child at the age of about two. Full of happiness and joy.. and he had many admirers here. Several greeted the boy as if they knew him. Then my old classmate came from behind the counter. She approached him and the little boy began following her as she straightened tables. He began to gallop and skip and she stopped to watch and smile at him. I couldn’t help but stare as she began to gallop in place with him as they laughed. The happiness they shared was wonderful to watch.

It seemed obvious to me that she was a single mother.. this boy’s mother. I found myself wondering how she came about to be in this place in her life and the hardships she had gone through. Was she what some would consider to be successful? Is the mold of being successful to go to college, marry, and have a corporate job?

What is success? It is measured by your economical status or is success dependent upon your happiness? If you live a meaningful, happy life, do these criteria’s alone make you successful? Seeing this today has solidified in me that success is measured by your own personal feelings.. it’s not what any other individual deems as successful. It’s what you feel inside.

I will probably never know concretely whether this child really is hers or not, but it just opened my eyes and gave me a moment to sit back to reflect and to think. And I always am appreciative of moments like these.

1 comment:

Jacqueline Johns - Your Life Mentor said...

I feel success is living authentically. Being who you really are and true to yourself is success. Many people stay in unfulfilling jobs and relationships in the name of success. To me, these people, no matter what their income or lavish lifestyle, are unsuccessful if they are not following their hearts.